It was three o'clock in the morning, and I was wide awake. I felt impelled to get up and more actively feel the presence of God.
There was nothing wrong, no immediate need that I knew of, but I've learned that the impulse to pray is always from the divine Principle, God. Besides, I'm coming to love those moments of prayer in the night as agendaless enjoyment of God's love for His creation - free from the daily press of things that demand our prayers for some issue or problem.
I settled into the living room couch when my eye caught the cover of a current Christian Science magazine. Several article titles on the cover looked comforting, so I began to read it from cover to cover. There were many inspiring thoughts as I read, but eventually I came upon a testimony of healing about a woman who had been in an automobile accident and had been beautifully healed through prayer of severe injuries that she had sustained during this accident (Christian Science Sentinel, March 17).
Her story impressed me, not just because of the remarkable nature of her physical healing, but because of the utter humility with which she had felt God's presence and trusted His care during this experience. It was an undeniable proof of the everpresence and omnipotence of God, and it left me feeling so near to Him that I set the magazine down, closed my eyes, and just basked in this glorious awareness that God is All.
This was during the time the war in Iraq was taking place. Quite without effort I found my thoughts turning to those on both sides of the conflict and feeling the assurance that they were dear to God and safe in Him. For some moments, I rested in this awareness of God's tender care for all.
Then suddenly, my thought was drawn back to my own neighborhood in the busy city where I live. I heard the loud noises of a car careening down the street as metal scraped cement, tires squealed, and brakes screeched.
Immediately I found myself declaring out loud, "No, there are no accidents in the ever-present safety of God. God is there first." The noises lasted for several moments and then came to a crashing halt right outside our home. I went to the window and looked out. A car had jumped the grassy median, crossed both lanes of the road, and was up on the sidewalk, just a few feet from our building, with its headlights pointing right at the lower level bedroom windows where we had a guest sleeping.
A woman got out of the car. She said she was completely unhurt, but her car couldn't be driven. We called for help, and shortly the whole incident was over. But I'm still harvesting the lessons of safety and protection that I learned from this experience. Here are just a few of them:
1. All safety is based on the eternal fact of God's everpresence and omnipotence.
2. It is God who impels us to be alert witnesses to this spiritual fact and so to see evidence of protection in our lives.
3. The witnessing required of us is restful, spontaneous, and joyous, not fearful, concerned, and disturbed.
4. The awareness of divine safety naturally embraces all because it acknowledges a universal divine law.
5. It's never too late to realize this fact of safety. No human event can change it. Consciously abiding in this understanding prevents trouble, cures disease, and delivers us from injury.
6. Because God is always present, safety is always there before the threat; God can always be turned to for protection and deliverance.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote reassuringly, "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pgs. 149-150).
What strength and comfort we can draw from the knowledge that Love has always been there first.